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ICAN’s Nobel prize win warns against the North’s reckless fireworks

ICAN’s Nobel prize win warns against the North’s reckless fireworks

Posted October. 08, 2017 07:00,   

Updated October. 08, 2017 07:38


The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a non-government organization designed to remove all nuclear weapons across the globe, has won the Nobel Peace Prize of 2017. Consisting of 468 NGOs from 101 countries around the world, ICAN drafted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by the United Nations last month, as a driving force behind anti-nuclear movements of international community. The Nobel committee cited ICAN for “its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

ICAN’s Nobel prize win can be construed as a warning against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s increasingly reckless behaviors. In praising ICAN’s achievements, the Nobel committee specifically mentioned North Korea, which is highly unconventional. The committee alerted the international community to the serious nature of North Korea’s nuclear programs, adding that there are existential threats where a growing number of countries are trying to get their hands on nuclear weapons, with North Korea being the primary example. Having conducted nuclear tests six times since 2006, the North stands as the only nation to have undergone a nuclear test in the 21st century, and it is escalating the level of crisis to a new height by firing multiple ballistic missiles and making incendiary rhetoric lately.

Nuclear weapons have never been used for over 70 years, since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. However, the tacit agreement of the international community on “non-use of nuclear weapons” is becoming ever more brittle since countries outside the five official nuclear states such as India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea have acquired nuclear weapons. The North Korean nuclear crisis, whose risk levels are reaching a critical point lately, is sounding an alarm across many parts of the world. Beatrice Fihn, ICAN’s executive director, called for self-restraint from U.S. President Donald Trump, saying, “The election of President Donald Trump has made a lot of people feel very uncomfortable with the fact that he alone can authorize the use of nuclear weapons.”

The actual impact that an anti-nuclear NGO’s voice has on the harsh reality of international relations is inevitably limited. Neither the United States or North Korea is responding to ICAN’s treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons. Pyongyang must be preparing for yet another provocation, with the foundation day of its Workers’ Party falling on Oct. 10, being a cue. It appears that President Trump is poised to take military options, calling the current state “the calm before the storm.” Kim Jong Un finds himself at a crossroads between making yet another massive provocation, which will be followed by an unavoidable fall of the regime, or giving up his nuclear program voluntarily for peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world.